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Communique of the 984th meeting of the PSC held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 9 March 2021 on the theme: “Sustainable Peace in Africa: Climate Change and its Effects on Peace and Security in the Continent”

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Adopted by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) at its 984th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 9 March 2021 on the theme: “Sustainable Peace in Africa: Climate Change and its Effects on Peace and Security in the Continent”.

Taking note of the opening remarks made by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya as the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of March 2021; and by the Chairperson of the AU, H.E. President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations and Head of the UN Office to the AU, H.E. Hannah Tetteh; as well as the presentations made by H.E Ambassador Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and by H.E. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture; also taking note of the statement made by H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa as the Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC);

Acknowledging the negative effects of climate change, in general, and in particular, the growing threat they pose to socio-economic development, as well as on sustainable peace, security and stability in Africa, the livelihoods and general well- being of the African people;

Mindful of the fact that no country, region or continent is immune to, and can effectively address, the negative effects of climate change unilaterally and hence, the imperative of collective efforts;

Also mindful of the importance of the unwavering commitment to fully implement the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary Declaration which is aimed at preventing and ending all wars in Africa in line with the vision and aspirations envisaged in Agenda 2063;

Recalling all AU Assembly Decisions on climate change, particularly, Assembly/AU/Dec. 669(XXX) on the outcomes of COP23/CMP 13 and Africa’s Engagements at the Global Climate Change Conference at COP24/CMP 14, adopted at its 30th Ordinary Session held from 28 to 29 January 2018; as well as the previous decisions and pronouncements of Council on Climate Change including Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR. (DCCLXXIV)] adopted at its 774th meeting held on 21 May 2018, Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR. (DCCVIII) adopted at its 708th meeting held on 16 August 2017, Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (DCLX)] adopted at its 660th meeting held on 21 February 2016 and Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR. (DLXXXV) adopted at its 585th meeting held on 30 March 2016;

Also recalling the commitments undertaken by the AU Heads of State and Government as outlined in the Johannesburg Declaration on Silencing the Guns in Africa, [Ext/Assembly/AU/Decl.1(XIV)] adopted by the 14th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government held virtually on 6 December 2020;

Taking note the UN Security Council Presidential Statement [SC 13189] adopted on 30 January 2018 on West Africa and the Sahel in which the Security Council recognized the link between climate change and violence in the two regions; and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

  1. Reaffirms the call for collective and sustained efforts in mitigating climate change and its negative effects and encourages Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs) and AU partners to actively pursue holistic approaches to boost climate change resilience, pay particular attention to prevention and further strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus, as well as to improve communication on climate change phenomena such as drought, cyclones and floods with a view to effectively ensuring disaster preparedness and risk reduction at local, national, regional and continental levels;

  2. Underlines the need for Member States and RECs/RMs to share experiences, lessons and best practices in addressing the adverse effects of climate change, as well as to develop more effective synergies between the relevant local, national, regional and Continental entities in order to ensure more coordinated efforts aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of climate change;

  3. Reaffirms the importance of addressing the danger of water scarcity and the necessity of maintaining and bolstering cooperation among riparian states on the bases of the equality of the rights and the community of interest and the applicable principles of international law;

  4. Also underlines the need for Member States to partner with the private sector, no governmental organizations and community development organizations in building effective national climate change resilience capacity, including in developing climate smart infrastructure;

  5. Expresses deep concern over illegal trade in flora and fauna, which is contributing significantly to desertification and extinction of some fauna and flora species in some parts of the continent, and constitute a source of funding for criminal and terrorist groups and, in this regard, encourages the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to work closely with Member States and to provide capacity building support for implementation climate change smart agricultural programs, including diversification of food crops and afforestation using indigenous species;

  6. Urges Member States to accelerate the integrated implementation of all existing international and regional commitments and agreements relating to mitigation of adverse effects of climate change, which include the Paris Agreement, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030); in this context, commends all Member States which have already signed, ratified and are already implementing all existing regional and international climate change instruments, particularly, the Paris Agreement and encourages those Member States, which have not yet done so, to also do the same without further delays;

  7. Also commends members of the international community, which are already implementing the Paris Agreement and encourages those that have not yet done so to also do the same. Council further commends those members of the international community, which are providing multifaceted support to local, national and regional efforts to build resilience and requests them to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the populations in countries affected by the negative effects of climate change;

  8. Underscores the need for expeditious implementation of the outcomes of the 1st Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Congo Basin Climate Commission and the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin held on 29 April 2018, in Brazzaville, Congo, and also the outcomes of the International Conference on Saving the Lake Chad, held from 26 to 28 February 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria;

  9. Stresses the need for the AU to continue mobilizing a united African front at the global level, in order to more effectively mitigate the negative effects of climate change at both, national regional and continental levels, and for a Continental framework for proactively responding to the security threats posed by climate change related phenomena;

  10. Also stresses the urgent need for a Common African Position on Climate Change, as well as the need to extend the mandate of the CAHOSCC; in the same vein, further stresses the need for sustained support to the work of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change so that they can more effectively represent the Continent in the ongoing climate negotiations, including in the upcoming COP 26;

  11. Commends the Commission, particularly the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture for providing technical assistance to Member States in order for them to successfully implement the Paris Agreement and to develop bankable projects that would enable Member States to more easily access Climate Finance;

  12. Encourages Member States to facilitate the work of the African Climate Commissions, namely, the Island Climate Commission, chaired by H.E. President Wavel Ramkalawan of the Republic of Seychelles; the Congo Basin Commission, chaired by H.E. President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo; as well as the Sahel Climate Commission, chaired by H.E. President Muhamed Bazoum of the Republic of Niger;

  13. Reiterates the need for the AU Commission, to mainstream climate change in all its activities particularly in early warning and prevention of climate change related violent conflicts in the Continent and, in this regard, reiterates its request for the Continental Early Warning System to include in its regular briefings to Council, looming climate change-related security threats in the Continent;

  14. Welcomes the offer by Egypt to host the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change;

  15. Looks forward to receiving the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the study on the nexus between climate change and peace and security in the Continent pursuant to Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR. (DCCLXXIV)] adopted by Council at its open session held on 21 May 2018; as well as for a feedback on the status of progress regarding the appointment of an AU Special Envoy for climate change and security who will work closely with the CAHOSCC;

  16. Decides to establish an AU Special Fund for Climate Change; and

  17. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.